Cape Town is South Africa’s most vibrant, trendy and cosmopolitan city with an eclectic cultural mix, urban sophistication and stunning scenery. Locally referred to as the Mother City, Cape Town is a coastal city that sits on a peninsula below one of South Africa’s most recognizable natural landmarks, the dazzling Table Mountain Range. Undoubtedly South Africa’s main tourist attraction for international sun seekers, Cape Town’s spectacular beaches are a treat to visit and well worth your attention.
National Geographic Magazine describes Cape Town as “The African Capital of Cool”, set along a peninsula that divides the frigid Atlantic Ocean from the balmier Indian Ocean.
Although the Atlantic seaboards bracing sea temperatures can sometimes make swimming in the most popular Cape Town beaches a chilly experience, the beaches along the False Bay seaboard offer warmer Indian Ocean waters that are several degrees warmer.
With the stunning sand, surf and sunsets, Cape Town will no doubt have a beach that’s just right for you.
Here is our list of the top 10 best Cape Town beaches to explore:
1. Clifton Beach
There is actually a stretch of four different Clifton beaches attracting four different crowds, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th, with 4th beach being the most popular with tourists and locals. You’ll be surrounded with great vibes in this exclusive social oasis. Come see or be seen in the hidden coves of glittering white sand separated by giant boulders that protect this beautiful setting from the southeaster wind. But no matter which one of these spectacular beaches you choose, the sunsets are stunning and the views are fantastic.
2. Camps Bay Beach
Located right next to the city on the Cape Town coast, you’ll be mesmerized with the incredible peaks of the Twelve Apostles range of Table Mountain and the gorgeous palm treed landscape of this stunning setting. When you spend some quality sun soaked time at this amazing curved crescent beach, you’ll simply be in awe of the rich natural beauty of its surrounding landscape and wonderful laid-back Mediterranean ambiance.
3. Llandudno Beach
This local favourite is located just off the beaten path. Take the winding road down along exclusive neighbourhoods to its soft sandy coves. Come alone or with the family however parking is limited and is along the steep rigid mountain top so it is a first come first serve kind of place. Since there are no shops or restaurants in the area, the lack of convenience makes it a much less crowded and much more peaceful area, so effort to get here is well worth it.
4. Boulders Beach
Located off the warmer Indian Ocean False Bay coastline, the beach is separated by giant granite boulders turning it into several private mini beaches. People come from all over just to relax in the amazing rock pools and even sometimes just to spot the endangered African jackass penguins, creating an unforgettable and thoroughly enjoyable time if you are lucky enough to get to experience it.
5. St James Beach
The stretch of coastline between Muizenberg and St. James was once known as Cape Town’s golden Mile. It is here that you will find this popular beach for families with a great tidal pool and colourful beach huts that give it a vintage vibe and feeling of nostalgia then some of the other nearby beaches.
6. Sandy Bay Beach
Located next to Llandudno beach, between Cape Town and Cape Point, this secluded beach is well known for its nude sunbathing. When hiking to the remote cove, the stunning mountain vista behind and the aqua blue water of the ocean in front will blow you away.
7. Long Beach
This is a remote beach great for travellers and couples who don’t like the more crowded beaches closer to the city, making it one of the more romantic beaches on the coast of the Cape Peninsula. Couples are known to go for some horseback riding while taking in tremendous views of Table Mountain or just enjoying private sunset picnics together while watching the gorgeous waves in the twilight sun.
8. Bloubergsztrand Beach
The Bloubergstrand or “Blue African Beach” is a 20 min drive from Cape Town and one of the world’s most popular kitesurfing destinations as well as surfing and windsurfing. When the Cape wind starts to blow here, it draws people from all over the world to its wind and waves. If you’re not a watersport fan, you will love going for a long walk while enjoying the stunning landscape and views of Table Mountain and Cape Town in the distance. You may even spot some dolphins, seals or even southern right whales here on your visit, if you’re lucky.
9. Muizenberg Beach
This family friendly Blue Flag Beach with a retro feel is recognized as the best surfing beach along False Bay. Famously known for its Victorian multi colored bathing huts, you’ll find big crowds here over the Christmas season with families coming from all over South Africa to this holiday destination. The water slides and swimming pools are just some of the beaches attractions for younger crowds and families.
10. Bikini Beach
Another Blue Flag beach, this time located in Gordon’s Bay, a short 40 min drive from central Cape Town. With soft white sands and spectacular views of Hottentots-Holland mountain range this is a favourite for anyone wanting to combine their time between beach and tourist activities such as Shark viewing trips to Seal Island and Deep Sea fishing charters to make this visit to this beach an unexpectedly special experience that is absolutely worth the drive.